Caution encouraged during local hunting event

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Hunting season has arrived in many states throughout Germany. A popular hunting tradition dating back to the early ages is the "drive hunt." This involves a group of hunters, or "drivers," scaring deer out of the woods. 

A group of drivers will walk through the woods, causing the deer to scamper toward a group of hunters on the opposite side waiting to hunt the deer. 

This year's event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in a large, forested area that reaches from the community of Gransdorf and Kyll creek area to the installation fence near base housing. 

During this event, there are a few safety precautions to consider. 

Deer may be running to escape the hunters, which could cause the deer to run toward roads. Sabers are encouraged to drive with extra caution during the event. Sabers, especially joggers and walkers, are advised to stay away from the Spangdahlem forested area during the hunt for safety reasons and not to interfere with the event. 

Leo Lehnertz, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron and passionate hunter, is very familiar with the driving of the deer, he said. 

"As a child, I would volunteer to drive the deer for hunting," Mr. Lehnertz said. 

As an adult, Mr. Lehnertz obtained his hunting license and became a hunter and game warden, so it is no coincidence that today he is involved in the annual Spangdahlem "Treibjagd," a local version of the drive hunt. 

About 50 hunters and 10 drivers will meet near the Spangdahlem main gate in the morning. 

The hunters will be dressed in green, traditional hunters' outfits to include hunter's hats, and the drivers will wear red vests to remain visible while moving through the forest. They will be using rifles and a few hunting dogs. 

According to Mr. Lehnertz , hunters will predominantly focus on wild boar since there is a large number of them in the area. 

"The goal is to control the stock of game and keep it down to a bearable minimum," Mr. Lehnertz said. "This way, damage to agricultural farmland and growing corn and cereal products can be reduced." 

For safety reasons, observers are not allowed at the annual Spangdahlem "Treibjagd" drive hunt, he added. 

"In order to be able to hunt in Germany, one needs to have a federal hunting license. To obtain the license, people must attend numerous classes and pass a test, and it helps to be familiar with the German language," Mr. Lehnertz said.